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Simply Puerto Vallarta - Crocodile Encounters
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October 25, 2011
In this edition of Simply Puerto Vallarta, Laura talks with local biologist Petr Myska about the crocodiles that live on the Marina Vallarta Golf Course. (Video Diva Productions)

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - With the US media often opting for ratings rather than facts, the 'mediated reality' presented to Americans is that all of Mexico is ridden with violence and unsafe to visit. That's why we decided to re-release the 'Simply Puerto Vallarta' video series that was created in 2010 to highlight all of the great people, places and things our safe and beautiful city has to offer.

Crocodiles made their first appearance about 55 million years ago. Since then, the species has not evolved all that much but its habitat has undergone major changes. Humans have slowly taken over the rivers, estuaries and in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the mangroves that crocodiles used to call home. It is a matter of coexisting so we can observes these majestic creatures and live alongside them.

Local biologist, Petr Myska states that there are not more crocodiles in the area, we just made them live closer to us. He says, "This is a great spot to somehow explain and illustrate the whole issue of crocodiles in Vallarta because this is a place where they always used to live and they are still here, only the place has changed. The Marina Gold Course used to be all mangroves and there is still a fragment on one part of the course, but now it is a place designated for human activity, and it might be surprising that the crocodiles are on the golf course, but we should look at it differently and say the golf course is on the crocodile home."

Several golfers like the added attraction. "I think it's kinda neat" says Jake Cassidy from Toronto, "It's kinda cool, I don't see many crocodiles in Canada so it's pretty sweet." Mike Walker, also from Toronto laughs and says, "It's a little frustrating if they eat your ball so you want to keep it on the fairway as much as you can but it just makes it a little different and it adds to the excitement."

The marina golf course offers a unique opportunity for observation of wild animals in a modern environment and entanglements are inevitable. Petr says, "There have been some incidents with crocodiles in the area but whenever you have a look at how they occurred along with the conditions and what people were doing at the time it's very clear to see that there was a lack of common sense on the part of the humans. So with a little bit of common sense and a little bit of will, we can live side by side with these animals with no problem. And it's probably easier to avoid an accident with a crocodile than an accident with a bus or a car and we approach those as something fairly safe."

The crocodiles have adapted to human exposure and Petr feels it is now our turn and our job to get used to them being around us. It is mutual respect of natural habits that keeps this relationship going.

"The crocodiles on the golf course move in and out," says Petr, "Crocodiles are territorial and when a certain place gets saturated with them, some of them have to leave and travel to a new location. So they cross the sand bar and the beach, they go to the ocean, hug the coast and swim to find a new territory, it's usually a river mouth or something similar." There are around ten crocodiles calling the golf course home, ranging from one foot long up to nine feet long.

Petr has spent a lot of time watching these animals and filming them for his new documentary scheduled to be released in 2010. Watch the trailer at

Crocodiles are quite noble creatures. They respond positively if what we do means them no harm. They have been making environmental adaptations for millions of years and they will probably not change their ways and we should try to understand their lifestyle and learn how to avoid potential negative encounters with them.

Simply Puerto Vallarta is a multi-media promotion campaign that highlights the richness and diversity of Mexico's premier coastal tourist town. Unlike traditional PR efforts, the video series was designed to put the media message back into the hands of those it most affects - area residents.